DAYBREAK DAILY: McDonnell's legal tab at $143,000 and growing

ABC7 WEATHER: Mostly sunny with highs in the low 80s.

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – National Zoo to announce gender and father of panda cub; Syria – the latest; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.

GROWING TAB: In defense of Virginia’s governor, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Gov. Bob McDonnell’s state-appointed legal team has billed the state $90,068 for work performed in June. That brings the tab for taxpayers to about $143,598, including an initial $53,530 that the firm billed for the services of former Attorney General Anthony F. Troy and other staffers from Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott.

“Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli appointed Troy to represent McDonnell in legal matters related to a criminal case alleging embezzlement by the former chef at the Executive Mansion. The appointment, effective April 26, was made necessary by a conflict in the case of the former chef, Todd Schneider, notes an appointment letter from Cuccinelli’s office to Troy.”

CATCH A WAVE: Or a gust, per the Virginian-Pilot, “If wind turbines rise from the ocean off Virginia Beach, Dominion Virginia Power will likely build them.The company won Wednesday's auction to lease nearly 113,000 acres of federal waters for a wind energy project 24 miles off the coast.

“Dominion's provisional winning bid was $1.6 million - about $14 an acre. Of the eight companies qualified to bid, one other took part in the auction. Politicians and environmentalists hailed the auction as a step toward generating more clean energy and touted Hampton Roads as ripe to become a hub to support an offshore wind industry.”

RAH-RAH: They want to cheer, per the Baltimore Sun, “The Towson University cheerleading team is scheduled for an appeals hearing Friday after being accused of hazing and suspended from competing. The national championship-winning team's hearing will be in front of the school's student appeals committee, university spokeswoman Gay Pinder said.

“Last month, the entire team was suspended from competing for the school year following the hazing allegations. Officials have not released any details on what the cheerleaders are accused of doing. Six faculty and staff members and two students serve on the appeals committee, which hears cases regarding student discipline, academic integrity and grades, Pinder said.”

THE RED LINE: Not that red line, per the Washington Post, “Every three weeks, Metro sends a crew into a massive, dark tunnel about 13 stories below the Red Line’s Medical Center stop to scoop out buckets of water and mud that leak onto the tracks. Metro also uses aluminum tents that look like Reynolds Wrap foil to line that same portion of the tunnel walls and divert the gunk away from critical systems and into drains. Last year alone, the transit agency spent $4.3 million trying to pump water out of a three-mile stretch on the Red Line that runs between the Friendship Heights and Medical Center stations.

“. . . Water has interfered with the 750 volts along the third rail that powers trains. In the past year, more than a third of the incidents involving smoking insulators on the system have been linked to water leaks along part of the Red Line. A smoking insulator on a track often leads to delays for riders. Now, the agency is looking for a long-term — and potentially more costly — fix, as it says it needs to upgrade the system to deal with running more and longer trains.”

SITUATION SYRIA: Go for it, per the New York Times, “A sharply divided Senate committee voted Wednesday to give President Obama limited authority to use force against Syria, the first step in what remains a treacherous path for Mr. Obama to win Congressional approval for a military attack.

“The resolution would limit strikes against Syrian forces to a period of 60 days, with the possibility of 30 more days after consultation with Congress, and it would block the use of American ground troops.”

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: Just the facts, per The Hill, “The National Rifle Association joined the American Civil Liberties Union's lawsuit on Wednesday to end the government's massive phone record collection program. In a brief filed in federal court, the NRA argues that the National Security Agency's database of phone records amounts to a "national gun registry."

POLITICO PLAY: “By the end of this week’s G-20 summit in Russia, President Barack Obama may be wishing he’d backed out when he had the chance. Russian President Vladimir Putin will have the opportunity to use the high-profile international meeting to try to diminish his U.S. counterpart by highlighting the lackluster support among world leaders for Obama’s plan to take military action against Syria’s government over its alleged use of chemical weapons.”

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ARIEL CASTRO: A request for answers, per the Cleveland Plain-Dealer editorial board, “No doubt there will be few tears shed over the suicide of Ariel Castro, who was sentenced for life plus 1,000 years for kidnapping, raping and holding Michelle Knight, Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry captive for years in his ramshackle house in Cleveland.

“The word monster should be used sparingly but Castro, who prattled on during his sentencing about the "harmony" of his household of coercion and violence, surely fits the bill. Still, taxpayers should ask hard questions about just how Castro was able to hang himself Tuesday night with what the Franklin County Coroner said was a bed sheet at the Correctional Reception Center outside of Columbus.”

PLAY BALL: Or something like that, per Gazette.Net, “An Arena Football League team could be a key tenant of a proposed 6,500-seat arena near the Shady Grove Metro station in Rockville, a principal of the development company working on the project said Tuesday. Tom Doyle, principal of Rockville-based D&A Sports and Entertainment Group, said he has been in ongoing talks with AFL Commissioner Jerry Kurz about bringing an indoor football team to the area.”

D.C. STATEHOOD: The beat goes on, per City Paper, “. . . Despite statehood’s rhetorical prominence, though, the District invests little in lobbying, in part because of federal budget riders that forbade it until 2008. That could change this fall, with At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange’s District of Columbia Statehood Advocacy Act of 2013. Orange’s legislation would spend more than $1.1 million on statehood, including giving the delegation their first salaries—$35,000 for each member.”

GET THEM WHILE THEY LAST: Guns, that is, per the Washington Times, “Maryland is experiencing a run on guns before some of the toughest firearms laws in the nation take effect next month, testing the limits of state police to process the tens of thousands of additional applications being submitted. State Police say that through Aug. 31 they had received 85,141 gun-purchase applications this year. For all of last year, police received 70,099 applications and in 2011 they received 46,339 applications.”

SCAM ALERT: Seems fairly obvious, per ARLnow, “If someone approaches you in the Ballston area, claiming to be in need of gas money, you might want to think twice before obliging. According to an tipster, the man is perpetrating a scam. The tipster said a man in Ballston came up to her and her husband earlier this year and said he needed gas money to visit his dying father. They handed over $20. This week, the same man — apparently not recognizing the couple from the earlier encounter — came up to them again and recited the same story.”

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Nationals beat Philadelphia 3-2.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “Proponents of legalizing marijuana for recreational use in DC gathered signatures in DC today in an effort to decriminalize pot. They say their campaign’s aim is to stop people from being arrested for marijuana offenses.”{ }

NEWSTALK: Among today’s topics (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) -- With two months to go until election day, Del. Charniele Herring, head of the Virginia Democratic Party, and Corey Stewart (R), chairman of the Prince William Board of Supervisors, discuss the Virginia governor’s race.

--Skip Wood